The 2008 ATP season is young, but we've already seen the birth of two future champions. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga emerged Down Under, and last week, 244th-ranked Kei Nishikori ignited his home nation of Japan with his stunning victory in Delray Beach, Fla.
An accomplishment of that magnitude hasn't occurred since Shuzo Matsuoka won an ATP event in Seoul, South Korea, in 1992. That's the last time a Japanese male won a tournament.
Welcome to the end of Kei Nishikori's anonymity.
The Japanese teenager was besieged by so many phone calls to his San Jose hotel room -- well-wishers and interview seekers in the aftermath of his tournament title Sunday in Delray Beach, Fla. -- he had to change his name on the hotel room, tennis tour officials said.
At the Nick Bollettieri Academy, where Kei Nishikori has been sculpting the game that just earned him his first career title on Sunday, the Japanese teen is referred to as "Project 45."
Why "Project 45," one might ask?
It's because Bollettieri and staff have had a very specific goal in mind for the incredibly talented 18-year-old who landed on their doorstep at 14 to help him become the most successful Japanese male player of all time.
Bradenton, FL – IMG Academy (IMGA) is pleased to announce that Kei Nishikori, Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy student, has won his first career ATP title this past weekend at the Delray Beach International ATP Championship.
In the locker room, his teammates call him “The Colonel.”
But given the way the Harvard men’s tennis team’s energetic junior co-captain Chris Clayton has been playing this week, he might soon be promoted to general.
Anchoring the No. 1 spot in the lineup, Clayton has led his team’s charge to a 2-0 record in the young spring dual match season, taking home two strong singles victories over tough opponents in last weekend’s Crimson wins against then-No. 38 William and Mary and Purdue.
It's a situation many 13-year-olds would find uncomfortable.
Trey Strobel was within earshot when Gabe Jaramillo, the director of the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy, was asked to evaluate the youngster's potential.
"To me, his transition game is the best of all the other kids his age," Jaramillo said. "He keeps attacking, keeps looking for the opportunity to go to the net and finish the point. His aggressiveness and his all-around game are why he has the advantage."
Bradenton, FL – Maria Sharapova and Jelena Jankovic, both former students of the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy (NBTA) will face off against each other in the semifinal round of the Australian Open. The match will take place on Thursday, January 24th at the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
BRADENTON - Thok! An opponent lines a serve at Megan Solko.
Thok! Solko lines it back.
"Hit it like this - like this!" yells a tennis coach.
It's just another day of hard work in the sun for tennis players at the IMG Academy. But for Solko, this isn't work. And it's not particularly hard, not considering what she's endured the last year and a half.
With the help of the Children's Dream Fund and the IMG Academy' Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy, the 17-year-old Solko was a regular on the IMG courts the last two weeks.